Cover art by Meredith Russell
The Book

Kian has crossed over from his world to ours to seek revenge. His plan is to kill the monster who murdered his Uncle. The same monster who used magic to escape to our world and is hiding here and growing in strength.

Regan Campbell is a hunter of Demons. The first son, of a first son, he is the one who protects this world from the monsters that no one else knows are here.

When Kian reaches this world, he knows Regan is the perfect man to fight alongside him, but Regan trusts no one.

It isn’t until they are facing death and a terrible evil that will be let loose, that Regan finally realises he can trust another...his fated partner, Kian.

Kian - First edition

Kian was originally written as a short stand alone book but became more when book 2 and book 3 were requested by the publisher.

After working on several paranormals I have a new respect for how a book like this should be written. Hence why I have re-writen parts of it and changed the way the story flows.

As usual, if you bought the original Kian, please email the receipt to rj@rjscott.co.uk and I will happily send you the updated book.





The Fire Trilogy

Book 1 - Kian's Hunter
Book 2 - Darach's Cariad
Book 3 - Eoin's Destiny


Buy Links

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Reviews - Kian's Hunter

MM Good Book Reviews - 3.5 - 4/5 - "....This great little novella introduces us to a world that is nearly parallel to our own but has magic....

....I have to recommend this to those who love paranormal romances that are a bit bumpy, danger, tension, and a touch of angst, some sweet loving, accepting fate, and a very interesting ending...."

Rainbow Book Reviews - "....This first story is a great start to the Fire Trilogy. It contains some interesting magical concepts focused around the mysterious magik of Fire, great characters in Kian and Regan, and an evil opposing force I don’t think I’ve seen the last of with the ending of this book. What more can you ask for in an adventure series? I also think this rewrite (based on the original short story published three years ago) is a wonderful improvement and now contains all the emotional and supernatural elements I am looking for in an “otherworldly fantasy”...."  

Rainbow Gold Book Reviews - 8/10 - "....For me this book was well thought out, well written with a great plot that makes you want to read more. I enjoyed reading and understand the parallel word, Kians power of Fire. There isn’t a lot of sex but I don’t feel that the book needs more...."

Bike Book Reviews - 5/5 - "....This book blew me away, not only did Rj create wonderful characters that almost jump off the page, she created a whole world that is so vibrant and real it boggles the mind! Kian and Regan will make you fall in love with them as they fall for each other! Check out this lovely story, you will not regret it!...."

Joyfully Jay - 4.5/5 - "....Oh, the world building in this book just sucked me in and kept my attention throughout.  Scott does a really great job of creating a world, giving us the information we need, and making us believe.  I was drawn into the parallel world storyline, loving the way it’s presented and the Fire that lights everyone, whether it’s a physical manifestation or not, and how everything is connected.  Couple that with two engaging MCs and I really enjoyed this book.

One of the things I really loved about this book was that we only spend time with our two MCs.  There’s no extraneous secondary characters here, and for this story, it worked perfectly.  The plot lends itself to being with just these two guys, and it was to its benefit that there was no one else to muck up the works.  Not to say that we didn’t get a taste of other characters, because we did.  But the focus was solely on these two men, their mission, and their bond...."

Gay List Book Reviews - "....An exciting and sexy world of magic and parallel worlds, demon hunting and bonded mates. This is the first book in the Fire Trilogy so it sets up the world and characters....

....This story goes by fast, but I was comforted by the knowledge that I have two more stories full of magic and love to learn more about this world and its people and watch three friends, who are more like brothers, find their mates and fall in love...."


Reviews - Kian when published with Silver Publishing

Jessewave - 4/5 - "....I know that this specific quirk of mine is mine alone and many of you enjoy shorter stories much more than I do (give me a 500+ page novel any day and you’ll make me a happy man). That said, to build a paranormal world and make it work in a short page count is much more difficult that creating one in the first place, so I give props to RJ Stone for that. This is a story which I think many of you who love paranormals will like. There is one sex scene which is particurly steamy and because I can’t resist, here’s a clue: They both have FIRE. Imagine sex with fire and you’re on the right track...."

Top 2 Bottom Reviews - 4.5/5 - "....Kian is the first book in the author’s Fire Trilogy series. This fast paced novella starts the trilogy off perfectly....

....The author gives just enough background on Kian and his world to make sure the reader returns for more and I for one can’t wait to see what happens in the next book...."

Excerpt

Chapter 2

Regan Campbell ordered one of everything from the menu. He loved diners like this that served breakfast all day, with waitresses who knew everything and short-order chefs who cooked the food he adored. The diner had the quickest service he had seen in months; he had coffee almost immediately, and in the space of ten minutes, he had a plate placed in front of him piled high with bacon, eggs, and pancakes.

This particular diner sat on the outskirts of Enner Falls, a small town in the foothills of Wolf Mountain, the peak of the Gallatin National Forest. He had traced little more than rumors to end up in Enner Falls, and here he was, a week before All Hallows’ Eve, a few days from a full moon, wondering what the hell he was going to find. At this time of the year it was difficult to pull out the real threat from the sugar-high hype, and he expected more than the average crazy Demon to come out and play.

“You okay there, honey?” Rita, his waitress, topped off his coffee, and he smiled up at her.

“I’m fine, thanks,” he said quietly. No sense in drawing attention to himself by ordering more bacon even though he was tempted.

“Shout if you want more coffee.” She walked off to the next customer, and he could swear he heard her humming, although it was fairly tuneless.

His detailed and painstaking research had led him initially to the town across the valley where there had been ten unexplained disappearances in this area over the last year. Classic Demon shit right there. But the town was a bust. No signs of a Demon infestation, now or even in the past. Hunger made him stop in Enner Falls, but instinct had him keeping his back to the wall and facing the door. Electricity sparked in the air and Regan was on edge. His instincts hadn’t let him down before. Something was wrong here.

Halfway through his bacon, which incidentally was the sweetest yet saltiest bacon he had ever tasted, the door opened, a blast of frigid air swirling into the warm inside. Regan looked up. That same instinct that made him stop in Enner Falls had him categorizing every newcomer, analyzing seating, and being very aware of each vehicle in the lot outside. Everyone so far, from police officer to teacher, had passed by him and nothing about them flagged his concerns. The new arrival, though? He was a different story.

The stranger was tall with blond hair, windblown and tousled and falling in disarray around a young elfin face. He didn’t fit in in his long black coat, not in this diner full of men in jeans and plaid shirts, and every red warning light Regan had inside switched on full. Deliberately, Regan placed his knife and fork to the side of his plate. He chewed his mouthful of bacon and swallowed before slipping his hand under the table to close around the knife he had on his lap under his jacket. Details about this stranger screamed wrong, and Regan was a master at following his gut feelings.

The new arrival cast his gaze around the diner, resting briefly on Regan, offering the other man a chance to see a flash of green in intensely colored eyes. Green Eyes couldn’t be any more than twenty and was clearly some kind of model wannabe or an actor, maybe. Whatever he was, he stuck out like a sore thumb in his black duster and dark pants. The long coat seemed to be leather, but not rigid cowhide. It was supple, molding against the newcomer like a second skin, then flowing out to just above knee length.

He didn’t seem uncomfortable as the hum of casual conversation dropped and everyone just stared; he simply looked back at everyone who looked at him. Regan tensed as that impossibly green gaze swept back towards him and stopped. The other man blinked steadily and offered a small smile, but Regan wasn’t in the mood for smiling. The smell of a possible hunt tickled his nostrils.

Green Eyes wasn’t the kind of thing he’d been tasked to kill—Regan knew the signs for one of those bastards—but the newcomer wasn’t normal either.

Regan pushed his chair back a few inches, giving himself room to move should he need to, as the other man ordered water and some breakfast. He was ready to act, analyzing the distance between a potential kill and a subsequent run to his car. It wasn’t far, but he wondered how he was going to get out of this one without people recognizing him as that guy who killed the man in the long black coat.

The unfamiliar man moved to his corner of the diner. He stopped dead center in front of Regan. A moment of charged silence followed as he focused intently on Regan and then frowned.

“Regan Montgomery Campbell?” The words were softly spoken, and there was an air of uncertainty around the stranger; the question in his words screamed that he wasn’t entirely convinced of what he was asking.

“Sorry?” Regan was very cautious with his words, his fingers flexing and tightening around the handle of his blade. The other man tilted his head questioningly and then flicked a glance towards the empty bench across from Regan.

“Can I sit down?”

Regan said nothing. Evidently the stranger took this as a tacit invitation to sit, folding six feet of lean male and long black coat into the booth opposite. He placed the water in front of himself and extended a hand in greeting.

“Kian ap Rhys,” the stranger offered in a soft lyrically accented voice. Then he waited. Regan didn’t immediately take the hand; he tried not to touch any Demons before he killed them, his reaction a mix between self-preservation and distaste. He suddenly wasn’t certain he didn’t have something like a Demon sitting opposite him. They were at an impasse. Regan didn’t want to shake his hand, and this Kian guy was evidently not getting the hint.

Close up, Regan could see that Kian’s eyes were not just green, but an intriguing mix of greens and silver flecks, bright right-in-your-face jade and mesmerizing sea green. There was something there in those sea and starlight eyes, something akin to innocence or trust. Abruptly compelled to respond, Regan found himself switching his knife to his left hand and extending his right. He wasn’t one to play games, and clearly this Kian guy knew his name, so there was no point in either of them pretending he didn’t.

They touched, Kian’s grasp firm, and Regan was startled at the connection in the warmth of the other man’s grip. Unnerved, he released his hold and sat back. His fingers tingled with the spark of electricity that had passed between them, and he closed his hand into a loose fist. What the hell was going on that his body was pushing through the flight-or-fight he usually focused on and experiencing sensations he wasn’t ready to let in?

Kian placed his hands flat on the table on either side of his water. “I need your help, or rather, I think we need each other’s help. I don’t know yet,” Kian offered firmly.

Regan narrowed his eyes. He didn’t leave trails; no one knew who he was or what he did, so how the hell did Mr Actor-Model here think he could be of any help and how did he know who Regan was?

“You want to explain what you mean?” Cut to the chase was the best way.

“I know some things about the Demons you track down. I could give you some new ideas of how to track them.” Regan tried to hide the combination of shock and disbelief that shot through him behind his schooled expression of I don’t care. This guy not only knew him, but he knew about the things Regan collected and dispatched? Something was seriously wrong here, and instinctive barriers sprang immediately into place. Defense. Avoidance. Get the fuck away.

Disgruntled, Regan didn’t even answer, simply swallowed the remainder of his coffee in two gulps and stood, grabbing at the jacket and ensuring the knife remained hidden. He didn’t even say goodbye. He just left without a word, nothing to indicate he had been there except the money he placed on the counter. Kian whatever-his-name-was didn’t follow, and it was only as Regan drove away from town that he realized he was shivering. Well, that was a new one—he wasn’t even cold. Pure emotion coursed through him, concern and distrust and the faint hint of fear.

He didn’t know who the stranger could be, but Regan added another emotion to the list of things he was feeling after he had touched him. Attraction.

I’m fucking stupid. Desire was unwelcome baggage on his back. Okay, it had been at least two months since he had seen any action, but fuck, there was no way he was lusting for a man he had met perhaps ten minutes ago. He palmed his dick, half-hard at the memory of those striking eyes and that soft hair. Since when were blond models who knew too much his kind of thing?

Firmly dismissing his body’s interest, he ruthlessly pushed down the tension in him. He needed to hole up for the day until dark took hold of the town and he could return to hunt the Demons he had been tracking. He followed battered wooden signs for the falls he assumed gave Enner Falls its name, and they took him down a short but convoluted gravel road out of town and up towards the base of Wolf Peak.

This was as good a place as any to regroup.

Regan pulled off the road and parked the Jeep behind some trees in a small roadside picnic area that was closed for the winter. Anyone passing would not be able to see him and feel compelled to stop and ask if he needed help or was lost. He checked the time. The sun hung at least an hour off noon, and he sighed. Waiting around in this job was sometimes close to soul-destroying, but it was necessary for success in everything he did.

Why the Demons fed at night was a mystery none of his ancestors had ever managed to solve, but as a result, the dark was as much his hiding place as theirs. Why they only fed on adults and not children was another enigma. On the run up to Halloween, it was something he was grateful for. He shuddered to think of what the actual Halloween night could become if the Demons fed on the young. It would be a horror movie.

Boredom and then irritation had him pulling a folder of papers out of the Jeep and stomping over to a small circular clearing that smelled of autumn. The leaves on the ground and what remained on tall strong trees were a tumble of gold and red. Snow had filtered through the straggly canopy of nearly bare branches and evergreen pine trees to leave a dusting on the wooden tables in the picnic area by the falls. It made for a comfortable, if slightly damp, carpet to sit on, and he settled at a table. The constant roar of the waterfall curtain was a welcome friend. There was intel to be rechecked, his blade had to be sharpened, and he desperately needed to find his center after his brush with the strange guy in the diner. He spread the papers, a mix of his own notes and newspaper reports, on a piece of plastic bag from the Jeep.

People had been disappearing all along the base of Wolf Mountain starting about ten months before and, for some reason, peaking each month at the full moon. Of course, rumors of a werewolf abounded, but that was as ridiculous as blaming it on vampires, because neither of them actually existed. All the signs pointed to a Demon infestation, and in a few days, All Hallows’ Eve, the next full moon on the chart, he needed to clear them out.

“See, I really need to talk to you.” The voice was crisp and slightly accented.

Regan sprang to his feet, his knife in his hand and adrenaline sparking in his body, to face the man he had last seen in the diner, his arms crossed and a patient expression on his face. Regan looked past him. He couldn’t see a car. He would have heard a car even over the noise of the falling water. Fuck, he should have heard footsteps or something. How the hell could he call himself a Hunter? Then the thought came to him. How exactly had Kian managed to catch up to him some six miles out of town in the space of a few minutes?

“What the fuck?” To be honest, that was the most coherent response Regan could manage while facing the man who had somehow achieved the impossible—tracked him down, caught him, then surprised him.

“My name is Kian ap Rhys,” the stranger introduced himself again. “I know you’re Regan Campbell. I know you hunt monsters that suck the life out of people and make them puppets that kill. I know you do this the same as your father did before you and his father did before him—”

Regan didn’t want to hear the whole great-grandfather crap timeline and stopped Kian with a raised hand. A strange fear curled inside him as he listened to the movie-set-reject’s words. He twisted the knife in his hands, the intricate scrolled words on the hilt sparking, gripped it tighter, and took one step towards the tall, slim stranger. Regan’s legs were slightly bent at the knees and he assumed a fighter’s stance. His lips thinned as Kian held his ground and seemed not at all disturbed by Regan’s aggressive step forward.

“You clearly know who I am.” Regan had two questions and he needed answers now. “How do you know and why the hell would you want to know?”

Kian nodded. He’d evidently been expecting the questions. “The how is easy. My family has known of your family for many years. The why…well, I think that is much harder to explain.” Kian stopped. He shook his head and sighed, and Regan grew irritated at the silence.

“What are they? Hunters as well?” That didn’t make sense. Regan only knew of one cousin who trawled through Canada doing what Regan did in the continental US.

“My family? No.”

“I’m listening,” he prompted impatiently.

“I have my own reasons for being here. I have something I need to do, and I only have one night to do it in.”

“That doesn’t answer the question. Could you be any more cryptic? How the hell does what you need to do connect with what I do?”

“Look, it’s simple. I need you. You need me.”

“I kill the monsters fine on my own. I don’t want or need someone else.”

“There is a stronger evil here that even you can’t kill.” Kian looked uncomfortable, worrying his lower lip with his teeth before crossing to the nearest tree and sliding down the trunk to sit cross-legged at its base. Not only had he laid two wicked-looking knives on the ground in front of him as he sat, he’d actually turned his back to Regan as he walked over. Those two actions caused Regan to relax, by just the merest fraction, his tight hold on the knife. He abruptly felt like he should do the same as Kian, so he crossed to the next tree over, close enough to Kian to talk. He rested a hand on the rough bark, then used it to lever himself down, stretching his legs in front of him. The concessions he made to the Hunter inside him were basic: his knife remained in his hand and he maintained a hyperawareness of his surroundings. He didn’t understand why he had bothered to give Kian the time of day, but he had, and for some strange reason it felt safe to do so.

“Keep talking,” he insisted.

“My uncle died slowly. Then on the Gate Day last year, the Danio made its move.”

“Gate Day?”

“The same as your Halloween.” Kian paused and closed his eyes briefly. Regan wriggled uncomfortably at the naked grief that crossed Kian’s expression. “My uncle was…hurt…by the Danio, and something was taken from him…” Kian kept stopping in his explanation and casting glances up at Regan.

Regan didn’t have to be an expert to sense there was more to this whole thing than Kian was telling him.

“Something? Someone? You’re gonna have to be more specific. What was taken?”

Kian shook his head. “I can’t explain yet. Just without it, he was inevitably going to die. Nothing could save him. And the Danio was strong after he stole it.”

“Okay, stop there.” Regan held up a hand, the hand with the knife in it, pushing threat into his voice. “Start again, and this time leave out the mysterious bullshit mumbo-jumbo.”





Chapter 3

Kian didn’t know what to say. Regan deserved the truth if there was any expectation of getting his help with the Danio and getting back his uncle’s Fire. So it was essential to start explaining this, in detail, with reasons why Kian needed help and why Regan had to join Kian in his quest. He considered carefully the words he needed to use and they flowed fine in his head. Thing was, when he actually came to vocalize what he needed, he blurted out the one thing that was guaranteed to drive Regan away in a matter of seconds.

“We are destined to be bonded.” Gods. Why did I say that? Now Regan would just think him mad. “Together,” he attempted to explain by adding more. “Only together, bonded, can we hope to…” He stopped talking when he realized he was making even more of a hash of it.

Regan didn’t move. Not one muscle. He just stared, and Kian dropped his gaze, uncomfortable under the steady scrutiny of deep brown eyes. He looked up again. Those eyes held a myriad of emotions, including disbelief, if Kian read it right. It didn’t help that the longer Regan sat still, the more Kian could take his fill, memorizing the face and features of his intended bond-partner, and the more confusion filtered into his brain.

Regan was the diametric opposite of himself, shorter where he was tall, dark-haired where he was blond, settled and focused where he couldn’t concentrate on something for more than a few minutes at time.

On the day of his birth, the Council had told his father of the destiny that awaited his son. His father had mocked the seers. No son of mine will cross to the other world. Destiny had a nasty habit of biting when you weren’t looking, though, as evidenced by the fact that he now sat in the one place his father swore he would never go to, opposite the very man he had been promised to twenty-one years ago.

Kian sensed the movement even as energy coiled inside Regan, and Regan’s knife moved through the air towards him, Regan uncurling and following in a millisecond.

“Stop!” he shouted, but it was too late. The Fire was there in that same instant, a barrier of emerald and sea green that blocked knife and man with an impenetrable wall, thrusting both back until Regan, knife by his side, was thrown bodily away from Kian.

Pushing the Fire away, Kian scrambled over to Regan who lay unmoving, his eyes open, staring up at the canopy of trees.

“Regan, I’m sorry, are you—” Kian touched the stunned man, wincing at the spark of energy that still coursed through him.

“What. The. Fuck?” Regan bit out, his entire body trembling and his gaze fixed on Kian.

“Can you sit?” Kian needed to get Regan up and breathing correctly. The Fire had hit him dead-on; Kian knew a lesser man, a man not his partner, would have been struck dead. Regan grumbled his annoyance as he allowed Kian to help him up, and Kian was never happier to hear the threats that Regan muttered under his breath. At least coherency proved he was alive.

“What just happened?” Regan spat out as he moved to a sitting position using the nearest tree as a leaning post, then slumped against the rough bark and drew his knees up to rest his hands on.

“It’s Fire,” Kian began. Regan examined his hands as if he was checking for burns. “Not hot fire, it wouldn’t have burned you. See, I have no control. When my Fire thinks I am being threatened, it just…” Kian trailed off, and instead, he shook a hand in a gesture that he hoped Regan would see as a combination of apology and explanation.

“Fire.” Regan’s voice remained steady, but Kian could see past that to the man beneath, the man who had a healthy amount of fear swirling inside him. Kian shuffled the few feet towards Regan and sat cross-legged to one side. Feeling more nervous than he thought he would at exposing this part of him, he held out a hand. As natural as breathing, he allowed a small amount of Fire to travel inside of him to light a small flame in his palm. Regan stared, fixed and focused on the green flame.

“We call it Fire. It’s part of us, and when we reach twenty-one, it kind of happens to us naturally between one day and the next.”

“Power?” Regan ran an unsteady hand through his short, spiky hair, gripping at it like that would help him understand.

“I’m not from your world, Regan Campbell.” Kian said the words gently, and to Regan’s credit, the man didn’t move or run screaming to the hills.

“Like that wasn’t obvious.” Regan’s voice held a derisive quality, sarcasm layered over fact. “What are you? A Demon?” he asked, suspicious.

“There’s another place, another world that sits just out of alignment with your reality. On Gate Day the worlds align nearly perfectly, and it’s possible to move from our world to this one a week or so on either side of that date. This”—Kian waved expansively at the forest around them—“is what we call the Other World, and we watch you as much as we can manage. My world, my time, is…” Kian had practiced these words so many times, but still they felt like ash in his mouth. “I guess the easiest way to explain is that it’s parallel to this world, a phase step away from your time and place. It’s this place, but it’s a shared space.”

Regan still listened, and he wasn’t stopping Kian. That was a good sign. Right?

“In my world, when you get to be twenty-one you get your Fire—”

Regan interrupted. “Twenty-one, Fire, so you said. And?”

“It’s a mark of maturity, for want of a better word. The Fire stays with you until you die. If I ever lost my Fire before my natural span of years is crossed I’d die, Fireless and too soon. That is what happened to my uncle, but he didn’t just lose his Fire. It was stolen from him by a Danio.” Kian emphasized the sound of the letters, Dan-yo.

“Okay, so this Danio stole your uncle’s Fire, meaning your uncle then died. And?” Regan had clearly focused on the bad guy in the wash of confusing explanation, which was definitely a good sign. “What is it? Like a Demon?”

Regan tilted his head as he asked this. Kian watched for mockery but there wasn’t any. Obviously Regan seeing things others would never see was enough for him to believe there could be something else out there.

Kian continued, “It’s a beautiful world, Regan, my world. Full of the power of Fire. Peaceful. For every bright place, though, there are those that are darker. The Danio is evil to the core.”

“The bad guy,” Regan inserted helpfully.

“A remnant of a much older time, before we had peace.” He moved closer, now only inches from touching Regan with his fingers, craving that contact. It was near impossible to be this near to his mate and not to take him into his arms. In his world, they would have bonded already.

“Keep talking,” Regan pushed, and Kian realized he had stopped and just stared at Regan’s mouth. Kian shook his head to clear it. He couldn’t let the call of his destiny pull him away from what he needed to do. He needed to focus, concentrate on telling his story, no matter how much distraction the need to touch Regan caused.

“Last Gate Day, your Halloween, the Danio used the stolen Fire to cross to this world.”

“My world?” Regan closed his eyes briefly, then opened them, determination in his expression. “This Danio thing is in my world? Why?”

Kian shook his head. “It had been doomed to die in my world. It was a prisoner, but it escaped and came here. But its energy would have been low and it wasn’t its Fire it used to get here, it doesn’t have any Fire of its own. Cut off from my world, it couldn’t recharge.” He searched for a word that made sense and used the closest he could think of. “In the next few days though, when the connection is strongest between this world and mine, it will be able to draw power from my world and then it will have enough Fire to control.”

Regan narrowed his gaze. “Control what exactly?”

Kian shook his head slowly. “That’s the problem. It stole the Fire. It wasn’t born to use and care for it. Once it recharges, its attention will shift between the wild Fire inside it and the lure of energy and life-force in the world—your world—around it. It’ll be unpredictable malice with a weapon that is controlling it as much as it is controlling the Fire.” Until he’d said the words aloud, Kian had refused to consider the rampaging danger the Danio posed. Once spoken, he had no choice but to face it.

Regan spoke stiffly, obviously keeping his emotions at bay. “Okay.” He blinked steadily, staring at Kian. “So you’re here with your powers, and you can take it out, go home, end of story. What do you need me for?”

“You’re my bonded partner.”

“Yeah, so you said, alongside all the other crap you have been laying on me. What does that mean exactly?”

Kian winced. He could see Regan was skeptical. Perhaps going back to the beginning would be a good thing? “Sometimes who you’re supposed to be with is obvious and sometimes there is choice. Other times there seems to be no choice at all. My father was told I would be bonded with a Hunter in this world. That Hunter has to be you.”

“Bullshit.” Regan snorted his disbelief, and Kian felt physical pain snap inside him. He needed to make Regan see.

“The Danio and I, when we meet, we will have equal Fire. There is nothing I can do to stop it. We would just stand behind identical barriers and I wouldn’t be any stronger than it. I wouldn’t have enough to send it home where it could be dealt with. However, with you at my side—”

“What? You want me to throw my knife at it? Yeah, ’cause that went so well last time.” Regan rubbed at his elbow and grimaced. Kian felt shame heat his face. His Fire had just been trying to protect him.

“If you were there with me,” he continued, “I would be stronger and could push it back through to the other side where my kind will be waiting to deal with it.” Kian hoped that was true. He’d left Darach a clear message to go and find the Elders who would be able to deal with the returned criminal. He just hoped his best friend wasn’t still angry with him and had instead read the note and understood it.

“So what you need is for me to be at your side, when we find this…Danio, because that will make you stronger. Then you will go back home, end of story.” Regan looked half-hopeful, and that same pain that had started inside of Kian surged to a new level. What did Regan want to hear? Should Kian tell him he’d made a one-way trip to this side of the gate and that he could never go home?

If Regan was next to Kian, then the being would be defeated by their joined strength and sent back and the Gate between the two worlds could be closed and spelled shut. What he didn’t tell Regan was that he would remain fully in Regan’s world. He had broken ancient rules to come through to this world. To go back would be to face certain death as punishment.

“Yes,” he finally lied. “End of story.”

“This sounds like something you’re making up as you go along.”

“I wish I was.”

“Tell me how you got from the diner to here without a car.”

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